Intellectual Property, Technology & Innovation Law

"Intellectual property law" encompasses patents, copyrights, and trademarks as its core subjects, along with specialized bodies of law for designs, plants, and geographical indications, among other things. "Innovation law” is meant to deal broadly with IP issues and with related business law, employment law, technology law, trade law, and free speech law questions–among many others–for individuals, firms, and governments in the arts, entertainment, privacy and security, software and computer networks, life sciences, and technology development and commercialization.  These related fields are among the most exciting and challenging areas of contemporary law practice. Pitt Law today is building on its distinguished tradition of scholarship and teaching in these disciplines.

The Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Area of Concentration is designed to allow students to obtain a focused introduction to these bodies of law and practice while simultaneously getting a broad grounding in modern law practice generally.  No scientific or technical background is required to pursue the Area of Concentration or to practice law in any of the related fields, though students who wish to practice law as a patent prosecutor do need to have an engineering degree or other, similar technical qualification.

Students may pursue this concentration by taking foundational courses in intellectual property law, 5-6 credits of electives, and 4-6 skills-based credits.

Many of the courses included in the design of the Area of Concentration are taught by and/or are aligned in their content and teaching goals with faculty associated with Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute (IPI).  The IPI itself is not a curricular program and does not offer any courses for credit, certification, or degrees.  Instead, the course-related and academic goals of the IPI, which are to prepare new law graduates to work with innovation industries and to be innovative lawyers, are expressed in the classroom through this Area of Concentration.  In addition, the IPI offers a broad range of extracurricular programming for law students and facilitates student placement in local technology-related and entrepreneurship-related internships and externships.

The Intellectual Property & Innovation Law Area of Concentration requires a minimum of 14 credits. The requirements for the program are divided into three categories—foundational, elective, and skills. Students must take 2 of the listed foundational courses (for a total of 5-6 credits), 5-6 credits from among the listed elective courses, and 4-6 credits from among the listed skills courses.

Foundational Courses (2 courses totaling 5-6 credits required)

  • Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Copyright Law (3 credits)
  • Patent Law (2 credits)
  • Trademark Law (3 credits)

Elective Courses (5-6 credits required)

  • Artificial Intelligence and the Law Seminar (3 credits)
  • Biotechnology Law (2 credits)
  • Business Planning, Entrepreneurship & Technology (2 credits)
  • Copyright Law (3 credits)
  • Cybercrime (3 credits)
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Regulation (3 credits)
  • Cyberspace and the Law (3 credits)
  • Food & Drug Law (1 credit)
  • Foundations of Intellectual Property Seminar (3 credits)
  • Information Privacy: Law and Practice (2 credits)
  • International Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Law and Economics (3 credits)
  • Law and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Patent Law (2 credits)
  • Telecommunications Law (2 credits)
  • Trademark Law (3 credits)
  • Trade Secrets Law (2 credits)

Skills Component (4-6 credits required)

  • Commercializing New Technologies (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Licensing (2 credits)
  • Law, Entertainment and Social Enterprise Practicum (2 credits)
  • Patent Law Practice (2 credits)
  • Patent Litigation (2 credits)
  • Trademark Law Practice (2 credits)
  • Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition (1 credit)
  • Cardozo/BMI Moot Court Competition (1 credit)
  • Externships with government agencies or other organizations that focus on intellectual property and/or technology law, practice, and/or policy (4 credits)
  • Semester in DC externship with a focus on intellectual property and/or technology law, practice, and/or  policy (13 credits)
 

The IP and Innovation Concentration offers several different pathways, or tracks.  Each of these is voluntary rather than mandatory.  Each student enrolled in the Concentration may choose one of these paths, none of them, or a blend of courses, depending on their goals and interests.  The pathways are offered here to guide students who ask:  what courses should I take, if I am interested in “X”? 

No matter which track a student pursues, a student who completes the Concentration’s requirements will be recognized with the Intellectual Property and Innovation Law concentration at graduation.

Intellectual property track includes:

  • Copyright Law (3 credits)
  • Patent Law (2 credits)
  • Patent Law Practice (2 credits)
  • Patent Litigation (2 credits)
  • Trademark Law (3 credits)
  • Trademark Law Practice (2 credits)
  • Trade Secrets Law (2 credits)
  • Foundations of Intellectual Property Seminar (3 credits)
  • International Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Licensing (2 credits)

Technology track includes:

  • Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Patent Law (2 credits)
  • Artificial Intelligence and the Law Seminar (3 credits)
  • Biotechnology Law (2 credits)
  • Cyberspace and the Law (3 credits)
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Regulation (3 credits)
  • Cybercrime (3 credits)
  • Telecommunications Law (2 credits)
  • Information Privacy: Law and Practice (2 credits)

Arts, culture, and entertainment track includes:

  • Copyright Law (3 credits)
  • Trademark Law (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Licensing (2 credits)
  • Cyberspace and the Law (3 credits)
  • Law, Entertainment and Social Enterprise Practicum (2 credits)

Business of innovation track includes:

  • Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Trademark Law (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Licensing (2 credits)
  • Trademark Law Practice (2 credits)
  • Law and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Commercializing New Technologies (3 credits)
  • Business Planning, Entrepreneurship & Technology (2 credits)
  • Law, Entertainment and Social Enterprise Practicum (2 credits)
  • Information Privacy: Law and Practice (2 credits)

Social innovation track includes:

  • Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Licensing (2 credits)
  • Law and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Law, Entertainment and Social Enterprise Practicum (2 credits)
  • Design & Policy for Humanitarian Impact (offered through Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College)

Full-Time Faculty

Prof. Kevin Ashley
Professor Ashley teaches Intellectual Property, Cyberspace and Law, and the Artificial Intelligence and Law Seminar

Prof. Michael Madison
Professor Madison teaches Copyright Law, Trademark Law, and the Foundations of Intellectual Property Seminar

Prof. David Thaw
Professor Thaw teaches Cybersecurity and Privacy Regulation

Adjunct Faculty

Prof. Rodney Akers, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of General Counsel

Prof. Akers teaches Telecommunications Law

Prof. Lynn Alstadt, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Pittsburgh, PA

Professor Alstadt teaches Patent Law Practice

Prof. C. Allen Black, Jr., Pepper Hamilton, Pittsburgh, PA
Professor Black teaches Biotechnology Law

Prof. Daniel H. Brean, the Webb Law Firm, Pittsburgh PA
Professor Brean teaches Patent Law

Prof. Stephanie Dangel teaches Law, Entertainment & Social Enterprise

Prof. John McIlvaine, the Webb Law Firm, Pittsburgh, PA
Professor McIlvaine teaches Patent Litigation

Prof. Linda Pingitore, PPG Industries
Professor Pingitore teaches Trade Secrets Law

Prof. J. Matthew Pritchard, the Webb Law Firm, Pittsburgh PA
Professor Pritchard teaches Trademark Law Practice

Prof. Peter Watt-Morse, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Pittsburgh, PA
Professor Watt-Morse teaches Intellectual Property Licensing

Moot Court Advisors

Pitt's IP moot court teams are advised by Professor Alstadt and by Richard Rinaldo, Esq. of Williams Coulson and David Oberdick, Esq. of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott.

Courses in Intellectual Property Law

  • Copyright Law
  • Foundations of Intellectual Property Law Seminar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property Licensing
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Patent Law
  • Patent Law Practice
  • Patent Litigation
  • Trademark Law
  • Trademark Law Practice
  • Trade Secrets Law

Courses in Technology Law

  • Artificial Intelligence and the Law
  • Biotechnology Law
  • Business Planning, Entrepreneurship, and Technology
  • Cyberspace and Law
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Regulation
  • Information Law
  • Telecommunications Law

Other Innovation Law Courses

  • Commercializing New Technologies
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Law and Economics
  • Law, Entertainment and Social Enterprise Practicum
  • Law and Entrepreneurship

For descriptions of the above courses, please see the Registrar's page.

Pitt Law competes annually in two interscholastic intellectual property-related moot court competitions: the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition, which takes place at Cardozo Law School in New York City.

Teams for both competitions are selected in the Fall in internal tryouts and are advised throughout the academic year by full-time Pitt Law faculty and experienced practitioners from the Pittsburgh intellectual property bar. Completion of the full competition entitles each team member to academic credit.

The Pitt Law Student Intellectual Property Law Association (SIPLA) welcomes students interested in the dynamic field of intellectual property law, including copyright, patent, and trademark law.   SIPLA hosts speakers and discussions, mentors students, and connects students with practicing attorneys, academics, and faculty in the intellectual property field.

Click here to view the SIPLA website.

Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship

“The Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship and the Semester in D.C. Program provided a wonderful platform for me to gain practical experience in the field of intellectual property law. In my externship with the Department of Justice, I worked alongside attorneys on a variety of intellectual property issues and observed cases in various stages of litigation.”

- Alan Leung, Pitt Law 2012

The Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship provides a $2,500 stipend for Semester in D.C. Program students who are working in intellectual property and technology law externships. The Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship is funded by a gift from Professor Pamela Samuelson of the University of California-Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and her husband, Dr. Robert J. Glushko, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Professor Samuelson is a former member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

The 2011 Samuelson/Glushko Fellow, Alan Leung ’12, worked in the IP Section of the Department of Justice Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch. Alan’s seminar paper for the Semester in D.C. Program was selected as the second place winner of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s 2012 Intellectual Property Law Section Annual Writing Competition and will be published. Alan is now a patent agent at a Washington-area IP law firm, Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier and Neustadt, L.L.P.

As Alan’s experience suggests, a semester-long externship is an excellent entrée into the Washington legal market, but its value is not limited to the Washington area. Gaining experience in a federal agency or on the Hill, or working for some of the well-known non-profits engaged in lobbying and policy-making in Washington provides you with an impressive credential that will be valued anywhere in the country. Your Semester in D.C. Program seminar paper can serve as an opportunity for publication, which provides an impressive writing sample for any employer.

Applying for the Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship is easy. When you obtain an intellectual property or technology law externship that meets the SDC Program requirements, you qualify. Simply contact Prof. Elena Baylis with confirmation of your externship and its focus on IP or tech law

For more information about the Samuelson/Glushko Fellowship, or to learn more about the Semester in D.C. Program, contact Prof. Baylis at pittindc@pitt.edu or visit the website at Semester in D.C.